in November of 1971 I was 16, my father, aunt and cousin and I were coming from lake Tahoe to the bay area on hiway 50. I have large family and everyone at one time or another lived in lake Tahoe and the bay area so in my life time I have traveled that route many many times. we left Tahoe around 11 pm after my father got off work, we were in his vw van. it's a twisty 2 lane hiway that starts hi up the mountain then levels out as you descend. this night we saw an unusual amount of animal activity. sometimes you might see a couple deer or a raccoon when they cross the hiwy to get to the river. this night we saw more deer, squirrels, a couple of raccoons a couple owls, more than I ever saw in all my trips. we were all commenting on it, my dad said maybe there was a bear or mountain lion in the area that had them all spooked. as you get lower you have the river on one side and you're up against the mountain on the other side. then you eventually come to a section where the mountain is behind you and the hiway is above and the landscape falls away on both sides into deep valleys. at that point the forest is below you. in those days and at that time of year there isn't hardly any people. there's cabins and campgrounds but at this time they are closed up for the winter so there' only a couple small communities that people live at all year but that is still 20 -30 miles farther down the hiway, Pollack pines, soda springs then Placerville about 50 miles away. so we notice the animals first then when we're near where you're finally off the mountain going towards where the hiway is above the valley and we can see a really bright light thru the trees. we come around the bend and see this HUGE super bright ball of light moving slowly over the valley coming our direction. it's still about 10 miles away but it's big, it has a beam of light coming from it like a spotlight shining down on the forest below. my dad pulls over and we all get out. my cousin was about 8 he was asleep until we pulled over. my aunt says don't say it's a ufo he'll be scared, she told him to get back in the van. my father and I walked across the hiway to look at it better. there was a full moon that night and it was kind of overcast. this ball was below the clouds. the size was as if you held out at arms length in you fingers a dime in one hand and a 50 cent piece in the other, the moon was the dime. there was no noise at all. it had to be really big because it was still about 10 miles down from us and about 5 miles off to that side of the road. they didn't have helicopter cops in use in those days and there is no one around up there anyway. my father had served on an aircraft carrier and was saying that that wasn't anything humans would fly. I had never seen anything that bright, I didn't know about fluorescent lights then but it was brighter than any I've seen since. it was slowly moving across the valley with this beam lighting up the forest below. we watched it for about 5-10 minutes, then it stopped and about 10 seconds later the beam went off then it just shot away upwards and to the west instantly in a split second blink of an eye it was gone. where it had stopped and then took off the clouds were gone like a circle as if the heat of it had burned them away and you could see the clear sky. now this is the weird part, I don't remember going back across the road, getting in the van, the rest of the trip. I don't remember ever telling anyone about it or talking about it with my dad or aunt. 20 some years later I was visiting my aunt and asked her to describe her memory of the event without saying what I remembered. she told it exactly like I just did here and when I asked my dad he said the exact same thing. even my cousin remembers it this way and he only watched from the window of the van. I have seen several t.v programs that reenacted this type of sighting by other people and it's described like what I saw. this thing was huge, it couldn't be man made, it had to be a thousand feet wide at least, it was at least 10 or more miles from us and was 10 times the size of the full moon. I always wondered if any other travelers or forest rangers or maybe someone living nearby also saw it. if you were on that hiway that night you couldn't have missed it.